Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have gone AWOL for Real Madrid... Zinedine Zidane could really do with Alvaro Morata right about now
- Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have just two La Liga goals between them
- Real Madrid are 10 points behind leaders Barcelona after Atletico Madrid draw
- Ronaldo may end the season below 25 goals for the first time in his Real career
- Zinedine Zidane sold Alvaro Morata to Chelsea for ￡70million in the summer?
- The Spaniard has scored 12 goals in his first 11 appearances for the Blues
Real Madrid drew 0-0 with neighbours Atletico Madrid to leave them 10 points behind Barcelona, who are laughing in La Liga despite having lost Neymar in the summer.
Ronaldo has taken 55 shots in the Spanish top flight this season and scored only once. Benzema has contributed a solitary goal of his own too. Zinedine Zidane has been left scratching his head.
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Karim Benzema have just two La Liga goals between them
Meanwhile in the Premier League, Morata has been involved in 12 goals in his first 11 games – a record for a Chelsea player.
The Spaniard scored the winner against Manchester United two weeks ago then put in a performance at West Brom worthy of a separate segment on Match of the Day. How Zidane could do with a striker of Morata's calibre right now.
Real sold the 25-year-old for ￡70million in the summer and have been left with Benzema, who turns 30 next month, and Ronaldo, 32.
Zinedine Zidane (right) has been experiencing a rare goal drought from his frontmen
Ronaldo could finish a season with fewer than 25 goals for the first time since joining Real
Opta has a way of measuring the top 10 under-performing players in Europe's top five leagues, by looking at their 'expected goals' versus actual goals scored. Right now, remarkably, their table has Ronaldo bottom and Benzema sixth.
It is not as if Real are shooting less. In fact, Zidane's side are averaging more shots per game this season than they were last, and have also created the most chances in La Liga.
For whatever reason – whether rotten luck, an ageing frontline or a lack of service to Ronaldo, who has become more of a fox in the box these days – it isn't going in for Real.
REAL MYSTERY STUMPS ZIDANE?
SHOTS PER GAME
SHOT CONVERSION RATE
So while Ronaldo and Benzema's relationship has hit a bump in the road, Morata and Eden Hazard's has thrived. The former's flick for the latter's goal at the Hawthorns last Saturday said it all. It was telepathic.
Chelsea are reaping the rewards of a confident, clinical centre forward with Morata now averaging a goal or assist every 68 minutes in England. He is on his way towards double figures.
That is usually child's play for Ronaldo. The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored at least 25 league goals a season since signing for Real in 2009, managing almost twice that in 2014-15.
Zidane may be regretting the ￡70million sale of Alvaro Morata to Chelsea in the summer
RONALDO LOSING IT?
Yet his single La Liga strike so far – against Getafe on October 14 – has left him unlikely to hit that target for the first time.
Despite his domestic woes, goals have been no issue on Europe's elite stage. Ronaldo has eight goals to his name in the Champions League this season, and a record 18 overall in 2017, having gotten his latest two against Cypriot club Apoel on Tuesday, which saw them safely through to the knockout stages.
Yet as Real head into a must-win La Liga match this weekend, given the demands of those in charge of the club, Zidane will be beginning to feel the heat.
Relegation-threatened Malaga visit the Bernabeu on Saturday while Barcelona travel to Valencia for a first-versus-second showdown on Sunday. It guarantees third-placed Real a chance to get closer to one, potentially both.
Morata showed in Chelsea's 4-0 win against a team facing a scrap for survival that he is willing to show some fight of his own. That is what Zidane needs his stars to do now if they are to get back into Spain's title race, and Ronaldo finding his finishing boots would certainly help.
Morata was overlooked at Real but has scored 12 goals in his first 11 appearances for the Blues
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